Turkey Coup Attempt: Recep Tayyip Erdogan Withdraws Insult Lawsuits
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced he is withdrawing all lawsuits against people charged with insulting him.
He said he was inspired by the feelings of unity in the wake of the recent failed coup.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also stepped up his attacks on nations criticizing his crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, telling them to “mind your own business”.
The president earlier blasted General Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, saying he was “on the side of the coup plotters”.
Gen. Joseph Votel had said in remarks on July 28 that the jailing of some military leaders could damage Turkish-American military co-operation.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the presidential palace: “I am going to withdraw all the cases regarding the disrespectful insults made against me.”
He said it was a one-off gesture of goodwill.
Earlier this year, Turkish authorities said some 2,000 people were facing such prosecutions.
Recep Erdogan was also defiant in the face of criticism over his crackdown, which the interior ministry said on July 29 had seen 18,000 detentions.
He said: “Some people give us advice. They say they are worried. Mind your own business! Look at your own deeds.
“Not a single person has come to give condolences either from the European Union… or from the West… Those countries or leaders who are not worried about Turkey’s democracy, the lives of our people, its future – while being so worried about the fate of the putschists – cannot be our friends.”
Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey had now succeeded in removing all elements linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen from the military.
Turkey blames Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the coup attempt, something he denies.
On July 29, President Recep Erdogan had told Gen. Joseph Votel to “know your place”, adding: “You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt.”
Gen. Joseph Votel had said one day before: “We have certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders – military leaders in particular. I am concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue.”
The next day, replying after President Recep Erdogan’s comments, Gen. Joseph Votel said any reports that he was involved in the coup were “unfortunate and completely inaccurate”.
Gen. Joseph Votel added that Turkey had been an “extraordinary and vital partner” for many years and he was looking forward to their partnership in the fight against self-styled Islamic State.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had also said on July 28 that Turkey’s crackdown was disrupting Turkish-American military co-operation in fighting ISIS.
Turkey announced a military reshuffle on July 28, including the dishonorable discharge of 1,700 military servicemen. About 40% of generals and admirals have been discharged since the coup.
More than 66,000 Turkish public sector workers have been dismissed from their posts and 50,000 passports cancelled, while the labor ministry is investigating 1,300 of its staff.
Turkey has also shut 142 media outlets and detained several journalists.